Internal social media strategy

Last night I had dinner with my Uncle. He’s a leadership/exec coach so after dinner we hung out and he gave me a couple hours of coaching. I was surprised how much what he was saying sounded like a social media pitch.

The ideas are the same: get to know your customers/employees, build (empathetic) relationships with them, be able to understand where they are coming from, ask questions, don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know.”

It seems like companies should have an internal social media strategy: a series of outlets created just for employees. A way of keeping a conversation going.

Just asking questions now… Is that the value of having an internal social network? How do you keep people using it? How do you make it fun? Who is an expert in this?

I’ll be thinking.

8 thoughts on “Internal social media strategy”

  1. I wish I could have listened into the conversation.

    There are good solid reasons to build interfaces between customers and employees/management and between employees and management. And between employees and employees (in different functional groups). In fact, it’s hard to imagine why it’s not more common.

    Here’s where it gets weird. In 1999 (the height of Web 1.0) a group of people got together and wrote the Cluetrain Manifesto (http://www.cluetrain.com/). They had identified issues in the way companies were being run, and called those companies out. #41: “Companies make a religion of security, but this is largely a red herring. Most are protecting less against competitors than against their *own market* and *workforce*.” The emphasis is mine. There are many other fine gems.

    Why were they pointing this out?

    The problem is, in 1999 and today, in many many large organizations, there is tremendous personal advantage in opacity and control. Even when this personal advantage comes at the expense of customers and employees (and the company as a whole). Remember, there are huge six-figure salaries and bonuses at stake. I’ve met one or two executives who will say “I don’t know” to a customer. I’ve never met an executive that will say “I don’t know” to an employee. Social media is about transparency… And that’s the problem.

    Okay. Enough negative.

    There are good reasons why more transparency would be beneficial to companies, if you can sell them on the benefits. A good company culture encourages employees to expend their discretionary effort in ways that help the company, for example. Transparency is either going to help build a good company culture, or it’s going to be the nail in the company coffin (if the company’s culture is a disaster and they won’t fix it). Transparency also facilitates cross-functional collaboration, up-down communication, etc.

    Your question is a great question and it identifies a great problem to solve because it cuts to the core of company work-culture, and impinges on strategy, innovation, etc.

  2. I wish I could have listened into the conversation.

    There are good solid reasons to build interfaces between customers and employees/management and between employees and management. And between employees and employees (in different functional groups). In fact, it's hard to imagine why it's not more common.

    Here's where it gets weird. In 1999 (the height of Web 1.0) a group of people got together and wrote the Cluetrain Manifesto (http://www.cluetrain.com/). They had identified issues in the way companies were being run, and called those companies out. #41: “Companies make a religion of security, but this is largely a red herring. Most are protecting less against competitors than against their *own market* and *workforce*.” The emphasis is mine. There are many other fine gems.

    Why were they pointing this out?

    The problem is, in 1999 and today, in many many large organizations, there is tremendous personal advantage in opacity and control. Even when this personal advantage comes at the expense of customers and employees (and the company as a whole). Remember, there are huge six-figure salaries and bonuses at stake. I've met one or two executives who will say “I don't know” to a customer. I've never met an executive that will say “I don't know” to an employee. Social media is about transparency… And that's the problem.

    Okay. Enough negative.

    There are good reasons why more transparency would be beneficial to companies, if you can sell them on the benefits. A good company culture encourages employees to expend their discretionary effort in ways that help the company, for example. Transparency is either going to help build a good company culture, or it's going to be the nail in the company coffin (if the company's culture is a disaster and they won't fix it). Transparency also facilitates cross-functional collaboration, up-down communication, etc.

    Your question is a great question and it identifies a great problem to solve because it cuts to the core of company work-culture, and impinges on strategy, innovation, etc.

  3. thanks todd for the great comment/insight.

    these corporation need some internet culture injected into their bubble. or maybe that would be their downfall.

    how do you possibly penetrate some of these large corp. ..maybe the key is to creating small teams with living by the new culture and let them slowly infect the beast.

  4. thanks todd for the great comment/insight.

    these corporation need some internet culture injected into their bubble. or maybe that would be their downfall.

    how do you possibly penetrate some of these large corp. ..maybe the key is to creating small teams with living by the new culture and let them slowly infect the beast.

  5. I was going to try to summarize this post, but I’d just screw it up…

    http://notanmba.com/blog/2008/02/space-trust-innovation

    Check out the link the Business Week article about BMW. There’s a set of cultural values that encourage openness and transparency, and a (more common) set of values that encourage hierarchy and order. The BMW article talks about the importance of a near-death experience as the catalyst to changing those values.

  6. I was going to try to summarize this post, but I'd just screw it up…

    http://notanmba.com/blog/2008/02/space-trust-in

    Check out the link the Business Week article about BMW. There's a set of cultural values that encourage openness and transparency, and a (more common) set of values that encourage hierarchy and order. The BMW article talks about the importance of a near-death experience as the catalyst to changing those values.

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